Review: Liima

If you’re studying in London then you need to seize the opportunity to see as much live music as you can. This city is full of gigs, sets, performances and recitals in pretty much every genre you can think of. Here is a review of one of them.

On Monday in the wonderful acoustics of the Village Underground arch, some Scandinavian soundscape specialists played an inspiring set that reconfigured expectations of what music can sound like and how it can be made.

Unconventional percussive samples were tapped out in powerful but unusual rhythmic patterns by Finish percussionist, Tatu Rönkkö. The percussive samples were wide-ranging: high hats, snares, metallic sounds, drips, glitches, tom toms and bass drums. Mads Brauer conducts the performance and creates atmosphere by mixing, morphing and pitch-bending sounds and pre-programmed soundscape samples. Rasmus Stolberg holds the only conventional instrument on stage in his bass guitar, but he certainly doesn’t play it how you expect him to. The bass is almost bass-synth like at times and at others, Rasmus plays higher pitched chords you’re more likely to hear from a guitar. It sounds like it’s mixed to float above the rest of the sound, rather than being purely metronomic underneath more prominent melodies.

Casper sings with multiple effects going through his 2 mics, which he switches between during the same song. The effects push his vocals through two channels separately rather than as a stereo sound, giving off the effect of two voices. The effects enhance the organic sound of Casper’s crackly voice, making it sound semi-robotic and eerie.

You can’t neatly place the sound in a genre, but there are possible techno, avant-garde and new wave influences. Liima make digestible soundscapes – it doesn’t need to fit neatly anywhere.

Each performance could merit a standalone set from every member, but when you put everything together, you feel as if you’re experiencing a world of sound to escape to.